Of Coffee, Democracy, Voting and Elections

Of Coffee, Democracy, Voting and Election Results.

voting

If you were having coffee with me, I would tell you it’s been a nail-biting roller-coaster of a week, waiting for the results of the harmonized election results held on Monday the 30th of July to be announced.

If you were having coffee with me I would ask you not be alarmed, I am safe and sound, and have had to answer the “Are you safe question?” to several people via phone calls, messages, emails, and DMs but to be honest the past couple of days have been hair-raising. You might have seen Zimbabwe, headlining the news, when the army clamped down on opposition party protesters in the city capital, demanding immediate release of unadultered election results by the electoral commission claiming the commission was delaying so it could “massage” the figures.

MDC Protest

The protest turned violent as protesters destroyed property; looting shops, setting fire to vehicles belonging to the ruling party and the military resorted with deadly force. Firing live ammunition into crowds leaving scores of people injured and several fatalities.

Military

If you were having coffee with me, this is the part you would ask me if you heard me correct that military personnel in a nation not at war opened fired on its civilian population. It’s hard to reconcile this image with how the military, just seven months earlier, in November had been on the side of the masses, in a historic seemingly bloodless coup resulting in Robert Mugabe resigning without a single bullet being fired in public.

Zim Coup

when The Army sided with the people

The official statement is that the protesters “overwhelmed the police who were spread thin due to them being stationed throughout the country to safeguard the polls and so the army was deployed.” This might be true but not entirely because on the fateful Wednesday I also happened to be in Harare CBD, and no I was not protesting, I was not even aware of the protests, maybe I should have checked my social media first, it might be full of misleading information but it’s one of the most reliable ways to find out if its safe to venture outside your neighbourhood and into the city.

If you were having coffee with me I would ask you, to imagine you were me, in the city’s central business district, not protesting minding your own business when suddenly: chaos and confusion as people run past you screaming and you don’t need anyone to tell you twice, you also run. Assimilating as you go along; the noxious tear gas fumes assaulting your nostrils, the distinctive sound of gun fire, even though you have never heard a gunshot in your life and you sometimes mistake the sounds of a car backfiring to gunshots when you hear an assault rifle being fired you can’t mistake for anything else…….

A lot of finger pointing is underway, from the opposition party leaders for inciting violence to the party supporters heading mindless calls to action; from the army over-reacting to the protestors being ungovernable and the truth, well the truth is an offspring of mistruth, half-truths meeting whispered conspiracies breeding in a silence where no good thing can flourish.

If you were having coffee with me I would tell you that the final presidential election results were announced after midnight on the 3rd of August with President elect Emmerson Mnangagwa of the ruling party ZANU PF winning 50.8% of the vote and Nelson Chamisa of the MDC Alliance opposition taking 44% of the polls and the remaining 5.2% split amongst the other 20 presidential candidates.

Walking in the streets of the capital city it’s hard to imagine something as monumental as presidential elections happened, no one is rejoicing, and everyone seems to be grieving, not only for the unfortunate souls, not only from the funerals of those who died on the Wednesday, not just faceless civilians, but people who had loved ones,

and also for the death of hope that had been birthed, still born, that this time around, maybe this time, things would be different……..

If you were having coffee with me I would mention these interesting quotes that I heard:

“its not the voting that counts, but the counting of votes…”

The force of will surpasses the force of will

Well if the polls are to be believed, then we live in a divided nation, where 49.2% of the population did not vote for the president elect, where there are more rural than urban voters in a tale of two voter pools, living with what seem to be completely different concerns and ideals and a diasporian population without a right to vote from their adoptive countries; and where a lot of work needs to be done to unite the population allow room to tolerate divergent views

If you were having coffee with me, I would ask you if you think democracy is a façade or that democracy is unAfrican? I heard some analysts on TV say that it’s a system that is counter to Africa’s Principle of Ubuntu I am because We Are, serving no one but interests of our colonial overlords in their quest to maintain control of Africa’s resources and controlling its finances.

diversity

If you were having coffee with me, I would tell you that I wish I could go to be bed and wake up later, much later, like in maybe five years, because in five years I will be old enough to also be a presidential candidate, if I was president I am sure the world be a better place…… well for me anyway it would be better.

~B

I have just answered a phone call from my mother for the umpteenth who calls every few hours to check if I am still alive and still ok, I should visit her soon and put her fears to rest, she worries so much I start worrying about her too………

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Of Waiting For The Election Results

Disclaimer: I am not a political analyst and these are simply my thoughts, Thought is Free

Interrupting my regular blog routine to bring my thoughts on the elections in progress. Usually I do not write on articles of a political nature main reason being Self-Censure. Commenting publically on all things politics has always been high risk event which could result in your untimely departure from life as you know it, sometimes permanently. There has been a serious muzzle on freedom of expression until fairly recently with the ousting of our former president Robert Gabriel Mugabe in the coup that was not a coup, that could have been a coup, you can read my take on it HERE in the Coup That Went To Private School. 

From the time since then, if there’s any change I have noticed its having the basic freedom to say things which have been too afraid to say, you would think its a basic right given freely, you would be wrong, even now, I still keep a wary look on my words making sure I dot my I;s and cross my T;s and step lightly on people’s toes…….

We have just crossed the finish line in the final lap of the race for the polls, historic elections as highly anticipated as the former British colony’s 1980 Independence, and now we wait for the winner to be announced

1980 indepence

Yesterday 30 July was voting day, polls closed at 7pm CAT and now we wait for the electoral commission to announce the Official Results after results have been submitted from various polling stations across the country.

official results

The Electoral Act prevents false/unofficial declaration of the results, makes sense as they try to eliminate fake news but some speculate this is to allow leg room to manipulate the election results as it can take up to five days to get the comprehensive results.

If you were to follow popular sentiment on the street and on social media then this might be the year the ruling party loses, if there’s one thing I have learnt its that popular sentiment does not win elections, the voting numbers do and from previous elections the ruling party has always won, Robert Mugabe may no longer be at its helm (and he declared he would not be voting for it either) but the party he founded is still in power 38 years later…..

What happens now? Now we wait anxiously for ZEC (the electoral commission) to do its thing, although the results for each polling station are displayed outside the polling stations after counting the votes and citizens can take photos and share results from the various centers, but they are unofficial until verified and announced on official channels…..

While I am waiting for the results I can see how this process would take a very long time, the system could easily be sped up by embracing technology, such as the results from polling stations being updated to a secure central server or a database, easily available for transparency and could be done a simple via text …..

Little things like this is why governments need to engage the youth, fresh minds, fresh ideas embracing the power of new tech and not simply finding ways to control or regulate……..

Now we wait…..

Africa Dawn

~B

Of Coffee with Cat

If you were having coffee with me, I would first apologise that I could not get up to greet you properly, its the cat you see, its sitting on my lap and has decided I must never stand again, not until our chapter is complete…………

A cat

Like a thief of time,

the sleeping cat,

that never moved,

watched you, watching it, watching you…………

You can help yourself to the beverage of your choosing as long as its herbal tea or plain water hot or cold but I wouldn’t recommend the ice cold water, its still winter this side of the hemisphere, oh I hope you dont take a lot of sugar and you like it black because its that time of month when everything runs out,…. waiting for a month end windfall and praying we don’t get unexpected visitors, because what would we even feed them except tea and conversation.

If you were having coffee with me I would tell you that I have recently discovered I am a cat person, who knew? A stray cat recently adopted me as its new co-owner and it’s worming its way into my yard and life; coming and going as it pleases and disappearing over the fence with a feline grace……

If you were having coffee with me I would tell you that the cat is an awesome edition to the family as you may or may not know had a recurring problem with rats, you can read about my misadventures with Mista Whiskas and Speedy Gonzales HERE – The Thing in the ceiling. Well thanks to this feline visitor, havent a seen a single uninvited visitor of the rodent genus.

Quick question: are cats carnivorous?????

If you were having coffee with me, I would ask you which kind of person are you are, because the are four kinds of people:

  • cat people
  • dog people
  • non-pet keepers
  • and those who simply don’t know cause never kept either…..
If you were having coffee with me I would ask you if saw/read the Obama lecture at what would have been Nelson Mandela’s 100th birthday had he been still alive, my last post HERE – Nelson Mandela Lecture is my overview on the presentation. Not taking away from the late Nelson Mandela but sometimes I feel he is being made into a brand much larger than life and commercialized  for self-serving purposes.
Nelson Mandela
If you were having coffee with me I would tell you that we have just about a week till we have Zimbabwe’s historic presidential and parliamentary elections on the 30th of July wish us the best of luck…………
~B
PS at what stage do you have “the talk” with your cat when you tell it, its a pet and not quite human but its a non-human person??????
Have an awesome week 
cheers

Of Coffee, Condolences and Hugs

If you were having coffee with me we would be having a cuppa ginger and honey tea, I am trying to soothe away a cold and bring some warmth into my life, after several days of a funeral wake and the burial of a dearly departed uncle.

lemon tea

“Nematambudziko” that is the Shona translation for my condolonces; the standard response is “Akaoonekwa”  which literally translates to they we were witnessed. To be honest I have never really understood what it all means and when someone says that, I try to look appropriately grief-stricken enough as I mumble a response back and wriggle myself out of hugs and evading invasive personal questions, we grieve in our own ways and life, well it goes on………

If you were having coffee with me, I would ask you that unless someone where bereaved is there a standard length of time that is acceptable for a hug? Some people hug you like they are channeling their inner kidnapper holding you down so that you can never ever leave ………forever….

If you were having coffee with me, I would ask you if you remember the Colcom pie I menationed in my last Coffee Chat  well guess what the company released its first official statement on their product:

Pork Payi?

“In August 2015 Colcom commissioned a new, largely automated plant to replace its previous aged and inefficient plant to increase production capacity required to meet the increase in demand….. While it was anticipated that the new plant would be able to produce similar pies, in practice this was found not to be the case.”

“Whilst maintaining the original Colcom pie has been the objective since the commissioning of the new pie plant…….”
“And we have committed significant resources to achieve this result including seeking the assistance of international technical experts, it has until now not been possible to replicate all aspects of that product.

Three years since they commissioned a new plant production has trebled while the quality has gone done, I guess its a matter of quantity over quality and watching the zeros in the bank add up………

If you were having coffee with me, I would tell you the election madness is here, I just got an sms from an aspiring candidate which not only asks me to vote for them but addresses me by name as a fellow comrade and I am busy trying to wrap around how they got my name and number and if someone somewhere is violating some privacy codes of conduct or did I agree to this in those terms and conditions I never got round to actually reading

Have an awesome week ahead

~B

PS so by some fortuitous turn of events I got me some four free movie passes and now I am struggling with wether I should

A) take four friends to see one movie

B) take one friend to see two movies

C) take two different friends to two different movie each

D) go watch four movies all by myself

Decisions decisions what would would you do?

Of Free Fair and Credible Elections

voting
Free Fair and Credible Elections
This is a phrase that has been, and will be repeated especially now that the President of Zimbabwe Emmerson Mnangagwa has finally announced the date of the 2018 harmonised elections. On the 30th of July 2018 Zimbabwe will decide, and for the first time since our independence 18 April 1980, Robert Mugabe will not be at the helm of the ruling party but of course the same party ZANU PF will be contesting/defending its claim under the interim incumbent President Emmerson Mnangagwa.

What does it mean: Free, fair and Credible elections?
First of all, most people seem not to be aware that the elections are not an event but a process of varied elements throughout the electoral cycle and in the case of Zimbabwe this cycle is 5 years.

electoral cycle

Electoral Cycle

Free
Free is defined as unrestricted, without coercion; having freedom to vote for preferred candidate without fear
absence voter intimidation/ political violence

Fair
Fair is defined as balanced or without favour or prejudice; having equal right to register; contest or vote for preferred candidate
when everyone is given a chance to vote/ register, without discrimination; provisions for those who might experience difficulties in voting, equal coverage of contesting candidates on state media

Credible
Credible is a word which means something that can be trusted and believed; credible elections are defined as being transparent and accountable
sufficient Civic education on voter registration and voting, monitoring, inspection of voters roll, Election Observers
Its unfortunate the role Observers is misunderstood and a lot of expectations is heaped up on them when their role is mainly to observe comprehensively through established methodologies, to document; the good, highlight shortcomings and offer recommendations they are not legislative bodies.

This is not the full scope of what consists free fair and credible elections its simply a tentative attempt to familiarise myself with this phrase used and abused.  One won’t need to have a degree or anything sophisticated to see that at a glance one could easily pick out red flags that could affect the degree to which the elections are free, fair and credible……

There has been issues with civic education, especially after implementing a new biometric voter registration, citizens where unfamiliar with; reports have cropped up of challenges with checking voters role, the coverage on state media is skewed in favour of the ruling party leaving the majority of contenders to rely on social media and external broadcasting houses, there’s been violence, both intra-party and inter-party….. should we even talk about how an election date is finally announced today with 2 months to go just barely within the minimum range set by constitution,

Clearly these elections wont quite be free fair or credible but they might be far much better than the previous ones where posting an article like this on my blog would have been to invite scrutiny…..

All I hope for is whatever happens at the very least let it all resolve peacefully………..

zim decides
~B

PhotoCredit: Electoral Cycle Chat: ResearchGate